Trauma by proxy

A few days ago at at the first part of an EFT Level 1 training we were practicing our abilities to neutralise unpleasant memories with EFT by using the example of disagreeable film clips. Film clips have the advantage of being short, specific, unpleasant experiences that are not about us.

One of the participants chose the ‘shower scene’ from Psycho as an example of a distressing film memory. She commented since seeing the film she had felt uncomfortable when taking a shower when she was alone in her house. It’s a ‘compliment’ to Hitchcock’s film making skills that he could have induced a fear of showers from a few minutes of film. It’s not just Hitchcock, a large number of people felt it wasn’t safe to go back in the water after watching Jaws.

The conversation reminded me of the effect of one traumatic incident on me. When I was four and a half years old President John F Kennedy was assassinated. We had a black and white TV in one corner of our sitting room and I remember watching the news footage of the shooting in Dallas.

After the film of the assassination there was a discussion between the TV presenter and some sort of expert (he probably had a white coat) using a model a brain to explain the effect of the fatal shots. That image sticks in my mind.

Although I would have been too young to make much sense implications of that event I must have picked up on the anxieties of my parents. I imagine it was one of those ‘oh-sh*t, what now?’ moments in world history much like 9/11 nearly thirty years later. Fortunately the world survived and life moved on.

However in my late teens and twenties I noticed a vague feeling of apprehension when I sat in that chair by the window watching the TV. I had the feeling that there was a sniper somewhere in flats behind the house getting ready to shoot me in the back of the head.

Logically the idea was ridiculous, the flats were mostly inhabited by little old ladies who didn’t seem to be very interested in sniping. In spite of that the feeling persisted. Not enough to stop me watching the TV but enough to be noticeable. I didn’t connect at the time the assassination of JFK with that anxiety.

Now I see it as an example of the (inadvertant) installation of an anxiety by TV back in the days of poor quality black and white television. I wonder how many phobias have been installed by modern high definition full colour coverage of destruction and atrocities? How many 4 year olds (and others) watched the repeated coverage of airliners crashing into the World Trade Centre? How might it manifest in their lives?

Categories: EFT

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